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Strig

Ben, please add the Helmet album Strap It On. Its Alternative Metal tag now fits the RYM 2:1 ratio (for: 82 - against: 40).

22
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

This is a fascinating album. It's a record that I have seen appear in numerous curated Spotify playlists since I listened to and reviewed this project back in June. The controversy among Northlane and Metalcore fans in general surrounding this record has not been lost on me. I made it known in my review that the crime against humanity of metal bands going accessible is completely lost on me since it usually results in more consistently good albums.

And Obsidian is no exception. This record has some of Northlane's most well constructed tracks in their entire discography (i.e. "Abomination", "Clockwork" and "Cypher"), incorporating breakdowns in a well constructed fashion that are not shamelessly dropped in as a generic mosh pit slammer.

Where it loses me are some of the heavier tracks, which sound less like Northlane exploring this more accessible, "mainstream metalcore" and rather as a plea of "please do not abandon us! We can still make heavier songs see?" It just leaves the album feeling flustered as vibes do not connect well between certain tracks. Regardless, Obsidian is one of the better "mainstream metalcore" albums I've heard in recent years as well as one of the better albums of 2022 so far. 

7/10

4
Daniel

A sublime djenty nu metal tune from this alternative trancecore outfit from Sydney, Australia.

67
Daniel

Here are my submissions for the September Gateway playlist:

A Day to Remember - "Miracle" (4:04) from Miracle (2022)

Beartooth - "Riptide" (3:31) from Riptide (2022)

Coldrain - "Help Me Help You" (3:43) from Nonnegative (2022)

Dir En Grey - "Ningen Wo Kaburu" (3:44) from The Insulated World (2018)

Disturbed - "This Moment" (3:05) from The Lost Children (2011)

Escape the Fate - "The Aftermath (G3)" (5:34) from Escape the Fate (2010)

Mushroomhead - "Rumor Has It" (3:39) from The Righteous & the Butterfly (2014)

Total length: 27:20

60
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Saxy, let me just say, you have done such as incredible job assembling this month's Gateway and Infinite playlists! This tracklisting has encouraged me to go through the entire playlist and find excellent tracks from bands I already listen to along with different bands in which some of them I feel up to trying some more songs from them. Well done, please keep it up! So let's get my track thought journey started:

Reliqa - "The Bearer of Bad News" (from The Bearer of Bad News)

4.5/5. This one's quite great, promising a more progressive future for alternative metal. Good killer technicality!

Dorje - "Catalyst" (from Catalyst)

4/5. Beautiful mixing here, with an intro groove that's like Alice in Chains' "Them Bones" on steroids.

Floodgate - "Running With Sodden Legs" (from Penalty)

3.5/5. In the year of Sepultura's Roots, 1996, Floodgate was active for one album. Pretty d*mn good, but I'm not into this stoner-ish style of alt-metal.

36 Crazyfists - "Where Revenge Ends" (from Lanterns)

4/5. 36 Crazyfists is one of my recent favorite alt-metalcore bands, and they've always stayed steady on their feet, even in soft ballads like this one. You can feel the deep soothing touch within your heart.

Pyogenesis - "Undead" (from Twinaleblood)

3.5/5. I haven't heard this band before, but I probably would've loved it better if I continued developing my initial alt-rock/metal interest 10 years ago.

Evanescence - "Sweet Sacrifice" (from The Open Door)

4/5. This is a heavy lamenting anthem showing how much a breakup can feel like freedom ("It's true we're all a little insane, but it's so clear now that I'm unchained").

Helmet - "Crashing Foreign Cars" (from Size Matters)

4.5/5. This is a nice song to love, especially after getting immersed in one of their earlier albums Strap It On. Many listeners might know this song as part of the soundtrack for Need for Speed Underground 2.

DIR EN GREY - "Beautiful Dirt" (from Withering to Death)

5/5. Man, for a song with the word "Beautiful" in the title, it's very aggressive the way I love it, especially the direct lyrics. If this band continues re-recording their songs, they should definitely do this one!

Clawfinger - "Don't Wake Me Up" (from Clawfinger)

4.5/5. I don't usually like rap-ish nu metal (except a bit of Linkin Park), but this one's an excellent tune to take you to mystifying dimensions. It has kind of an emo vibe here (the mood, not the genre).

Five Finger Death Punch - "Got Your Six" (from Got Your Six)

4/5. My brother has been a huge fan of 7FDP among other alt-metal bands. This shall encourage combat soldiers to fight their enemies and GET THEIR SIX! Another good song to love and fight for your rights.

Giraffe Tongue Orchestra - "Crucifixion" (from Broken Lines)

4.5/5. An amazing great track from a supergroup that includes guitarists Brent Hinds (Mastodon) and Ben Weinman (The Dillinger Escape Plan).

Katatonia - "Buildings" (from Dead End Kings)

4/5. I used to really love Katatonia and the vocals of Jonas Renkse before moving away from the more depressive metal styles. The brutal riff-drumming combo at around the one-minute mark is so f***ing good. I still love a few songs like this one from Katatonia and In Flames, kind of like when you break up from a girlfriend but remain friends. I just wish the song didn't have a bit of inconsistent cr*p.

Spiritbox - "Rotoscope" (from Rotoscope) (song already in last month's playlist, but I'll let it slide this time)

4.5/5. Spiritbox is back with a great hysterical alt-metalcore tune!

Memphis May Fire - "Misery" (from Remade in Misery)

5/5. One of only two tracks from Memphis May Fire's new album to not be a single (the other being "The Fight Within), and it's an underrated piece of greatness, with lyrics to love to bits! Has a bit of a vibe from Motionless in White, who also released a new album the same month. We'll get to a song from that album after this next one...

Yakui the Maid - "Guilt" (from Flock)

4.5/5. An odd digital-sounding instrumental, but I quite love this!

Motionless in White - "Scoring the End of the World" (from Scoring the End of the World)

5/5. One of my favorite songs from the brand-new Motionless in White, with amazing lyrics and melodies, plus a total headbanging breakdown! This can motivate listeners to look out for a possible apocalypse. While this song fits well for the Gateway playlist, I have another song from the album in the Sphere playlist, which I'll tell you over there. I guess Mick Gordon's instrumentation work could've been heavier, but it all comes out perfectly!

The Butterfly Effect - "One Second of Insanity" (from Begins Here)

4.5/5. A d*mn brilliant song that would be better suited for my brother's alt-metal/post-grunge taste, though it close to the Karnivool-like sound that I like. Either way, this is a killer and f***ing underrated tune!

Lacuna Coil - "Kill the Light" (from Dark Adrenaline)

4/5. Another insane yet lovable song. Enough said!

Nekrogoblikon - "Bones" (from The Fundamental Slimes and Humours)

4.5/5. There's a Goblikon in all of us, and I'm glad that my brother's enjoying this lately.

While She Sleeps - "CALL OF THE VOID" (from SLEEPS SOCIETY)

5/5. Probably the best and most epic part of its original album!

Finger Eleven - "Awake and Dreaming" (from Tip)

4.5/5. I love this nice beautiful song from the 90s, though it sounds closer to Our Lady Peace. Before this, I only knew this band from one of my brother's favorite songs, "Living in a Dream", which happened to be the final song in a rock music program from a channel that ended up discontinued shortly after. So this is a good way to end here...

1
Saxy S

I've been listening to this album off and on for the past 2 months or so, since a coworker recommended it before it showed up here. I think I was a bit too harsh on it at first when I bantered back and forth with my coworker, immediately going to the canned analysis of "Wow this sure is a Deftones record!". After coming back to it here and there and letting it marinate for a bit, I agree that it's definitely more than just a Deftones case study, but I still couldn't get into it all that much. 

Thornhill leans into some of the more modern Indie/Alt Metal/Rock and Shoegazy tendencies that help to distinguish their style from their early 2000's influences. Their sound is a bit more playful and upbeat, coming off as a bit less aggressive than other similar styles. Their vocalist is less sultry than Deftones, but he still conveys a lot of passion with how soulful his varied range can sound. For some reason I view their style as a bit more mysterious sounding, although I can't quite explain what exactly that means. 

Overall I think "Casanova" is a prime example of how Thornhill's style is able to take influential source material and put their own direct spin on it. It's a great song through and through, although the ending is disappointing in my opinion. "Hollywood" is another highlight but the harsh vocals aren't used very well for my tastes. Other than that, "Raw" really isn't something that I enjoyed and after the creative instrumental interlude "Something Terrible Came With the Rain" the album kind of grinds to a halt for me. The final two songs didn't grip me in any way, so it ends on a pretty poor note. 

This is a weird one where I enjoy coming back to it for the first half, but then I just never get into it by the time the final few songs roll around. I can see why everyone's enjoying it and it's awesome to see this style make some waves thanks to a newer band, but I guess it just ain't for me. 

3/5

6
Daniel

July 2022

01. Katatonia - "Soil's Song" (from The Great Cold Distance)

02. Avatar - "Bloody Angel" (from Hail the Apocalypse)

03. Spiritbox - "Rotoscope" (from Rotoscope)

04. New Years Day - "Crawling" (from Diary of a Creep)

05. Treyarch Sound - "115" (from Call of Duty: Black Ops - Zombies Soundtrack)

06. Sleep Token - "Hypnosis" (from This Place Will Become Your Tomb)

07. Bloodsimple - "Blood In Blood Out" (from A Cruel World)

08. Twelve Foot Ninja - "Portrait #1" (from New Dawn)

09. Time, the Valuator - "Black Water" (from Black Water)

10. System of a Down - "Lost in Hollywood" (from Mezmerize)

11. Disturbed - "Intoxication" (from Believe)

12. Alpha Wolf - "Akudama" (from A Quiet Place to Die)

13. Egypt Central - "White Rabbit" (from White Rabbit)

14. Embodyment - "Pendulum" (from The Narrow Scope of Things)

15. P.O.D. - "Lost in Forever" (from Murdered Love)

16. A Pale Horse Named Death - "As Black as My Heart" (from And Hell Will Follow Me)

17. Evanescence - "Everybody's Fool" (from Fallen)

18. Yakui the Maid - "Flock" (from Flock)

19. Cold - "Suffocate" (from Year of the Spider)

20. Nekrogoblikon - "This Is It" (from The Fundamental Slimes and Humours)

21. Blindside - "Superman" (from Blindside)

11
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Saxy, let me just say, you have done such as incredible job assembling this month's Gateway and Infinite playlists! This tracklisting has encouraged me to go through the entire playlist and find excellent tracks from bands I already listen to along with different bands in which some of them I feel up to trying some more songs from them. Well done, please keep it up! So let's get my track thought journey started:

Katatonia - "Soil's Song" (from The Great Cold Distance)

4.5/5. Awesome eerie start to this playlist, with alternating guitar notes in the chorus. This was one of my favorite songs from Katatonia when I was still listening to them. I still love the powerful rhythms throwing back instrumentally to Brave Murder Day. The simple concept is about evaluation and its resulting crisis, though "Who's first?" makes me think of Abbott & Costello. It's annoying how underrated songs like this don't get as much attention as the more popular sh*t.

Avatar - "Bloody Angel" (from Hail the Apocalypse)

4/5. It's f***ing great hearing a slow gentle beat blend into hardcore-ish melodeath/alt-metal, comfortably ringing into my head. A couple songs from this band like this one and "Hail the Apocalypse" are what got my brother hooked, then got me hooked next until I left The Horde completely behind. Still this is something metalheads must hear. So crazy yet beautiful! Though it might remind some too much like Alice Cooper, both musically and aesthetically. A couple other genius albums from this band are their self-titled 3rd album and Black Waltz. To start headbanging, just wait until after the one-minute intro.

Spiritbox - "Rotoscope" (from Rotoscope)

4.5/5. Spiritbox is back with a great hysterical alt-metalcore tune!

New Years Day - "Crawling" (from Diary of a Creep)

4/5. RIP Chester Bennington. New Years Day made a beautiful tribute to him with this great synth-rock-ish cover. It's not highly horrible at all, but I still prefer the original Linkin Park song. Keep up those vocals, Ash! It would be interesting if we have just the vocal track for New Years Day's version to use for the instrumental of the original. Such a killer job Ash has done singing this! Not sure if the reception this has received is positive, but my feedback practically is. My brother is a fan of New Years Day and still likes them to this day. I also listened to them when I was still into Linkin Park before my "real" metal discovery. Still not as emotional as the original. I think the only weak part was still with the first chorus vocals without the intro before actually starting the music.

Treyarch Sound - "115" (from Call of Duty: Black Ops - Zombies Soundtrack)

4.5/5. Another song I still remember from long ago is the best part of the entire Call of Duty: Black Ops - Zombies soundtrack, and my first (melodic) metalcore encounter (though I submitted it to the Gateway playlist because, where else?). The first time I listened to this, the only "real" metal genres I knew were power/symphonic metal, so I probably said something cringe about this like "Epica without symphonic elements". Now here's my better real opinion about that track; blazing riffs and drumming, with vocal alternation between screams and cleans, make that song a memorable metalcore one.

Sleep Token - "Hypnosis" (from This Place Will Become Your Tomb)

4/5. Another underrated progressive alt-metal song that's worth a fortune!

Bloodsimple - "Blood In Blood Out" (from A Cruel World)

4.5/5. Bloodsimple is a band that deserves to continue making these kinds of metal rampages from the crime-filled streets of New York. This is a black hole that only the strongest (like myself) can survive. This album continued the alt-metal twist from Tim Williams' other band Vision of Disorder's alt-metal twist. Might remind some of Dope!

Twelve Foot Ninja - "Portrait #1" (from New Dawn)

5/5. First time finding this band and I can't get enough of this great gem. The star-shining bass is so mind-f***ing-blowing!

Time, the Valuator - "Black Water" (from Black Water)

4.5/5. The vocals are what you gotta love in this song!

System of a Down - "Lost in Hollywood" (from Mezmerize)

4/5. Sounds beautiful, having a bit of Beatles/Bauhaus influence. However, I'm still not into the nu-leaning alternative metal of other songs from this band. I got other kinds of alt-metal to listen to, and that band ain't it.

Disturbed - "Intoxication" (from Believe)

4.5/5. Of course, I wasn't strictly against that kind 10 years ago. Disturbed was an awesome band in my pre-"real"-metal times, including this f***ing hard-hitter. Of course, this might not reach church, while having such an extensive vocabulary in the lyrics.

Alpha Wolf - "Akudama" (from A Quiet Place to Die)

5/5. There are some killer moments like the breakdown teleporting you like a Magic the Gathering wizard into the asteroid explosion killing the dinosaurs. A great angry song that would never disappoint!

Egypt Central - "White Rabbit" (from White Rabbit)

4.5/5. Egypt Central! That's another band my brother likes and I used to. This is one of the best from this band, it's practically f***ing awesome! After this album, they split up for 7 years and are planning some new material. From my lyrical knowledge, this follows a similar theme to that Jefferson Airplane classic covered by Sanctuary ("We follow like Alice and just keep diving down the hole"). This band certainly knows how to express themselves via these mental metaphors. I can thank my brother for blasting this music for me to hear all those years ago. I was just hitting puberty the first time I listened to any of the 12 tracks in that album. This is as insane as the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit combined! You can just imagine this strange black-and-while world while stuck in this colorful reality. Though if anyone has nothing nice to say about this, they should just ignore it and move on. I was entering my teenage-hood when first encountering Egypt Central and other bands, but I was never so moody or mean unlike most other teens. I would also never do drugs, which is what any song titled "White Rabbit" is about. Yeah, those stereotypes can get annoying. I've never had the thought of the world trying to get us another just a couple year before the present when the virus started, and it is quite hard to escape that reality...

Embodyment - "Pendulum" (from The Narrow Scope of Things)

5/5. This is a more aggressive highlight, with bass Derrick Wadsworth's dominating work and the instrumentation and vocals sounding close to emocore.

P.O.D. - "Lost in Forever" (from Murdered Love)

4.5/5. Unlike those other bands I've listened to years ago, I've only heard one or two songs from P.O.D. I'm glad to hear good lyrics in this one, unlike the sh*tty you might expect from the most popular alt-/nu metal bands. God bless!

A Pale Horse Named Death - "As Black as My Heart" (from And Hell Will Follow Me)

5/5. Now this is super great! I haven't gotten back in touch with gothic metal since leaving that genre nearly a year ago, but I might return with this track from the revival of Type O Negative by that band's two drummers. RIP TON leader Peter Steele

Evanescence - "Everybody's Fool" (from Fallen)

4.5/5. Gothic vocal harmonies appear in this song that's basically about how celebrities keep sexualizing themselves for the sake of success, something that has bothered Amy Lee, especially when a little sister of her was badly influenced. An interesting lyrical message in another killer highlight.

Yakui the Maid - "Flock" (from Flock)

4/5. This one's pretty great and can fit well for an anime, though more digital-sounding and instrumental than the other tracks.

Cold - "Suffocate" (from Year of the Spider)

3.5/5. Beautiful skill here! Doesn't work quite well for me, but still a good job.

Nekrogoblikon - "This Is It" (from The Fundamental Slimes and Humours)

4/5. Excellent lyrics here, like d*mn good this song is! I can once again thank my brother for recommending me this along with one more song from that album for next playlist. Stay tuned for that...

Blindside - "Superman" (from Blindside)

3.5/5. This final time-travel into 25 years ago might not really make me a fan of Blindside or classic nu metal, not even 10 years ago when I was developing my taste closer to that style. It sounds too much like 311 gone hard rock. Of course, it's not totally sucky, but there could've been a better end to this playlist in which the rest of it is awesome.

2
Daniel

Hey there, Daniel! I thought I would let you know that the deluxe version of the Treyarch Sound's "Call of Duty: Black Ops - Zombies Soundtrack" includes 3 bonus tracks that are all metal, none of the non-metal OST sounds from most of the standard edition's main tracks. These bonus tracks are heavier than even the standard edition's metal tracks, with the last of the 3 approaching ultra-heavy punky death metal during the harsh-vocal parts. There's no chance that you would ever change your mind about the soundtrack being non-metal, but please check out these bonus tracks and let us know what you think. Saxy, I would recommend them to you as well:


3
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

I have to admit that this release is an interesting choice for a feature release for The Gateway as there's really only two of the seventeen tracks that I consider to fall under the subgenres included under The Gateway. In fact, I'm not even sure that this release qualifies for metal status at all given that only there's only three tracks that are obviously metal & one that's kinda borderline. Of the tracks that I do consider to be metal, one is traditional heavy metal ("Lullaby of a Dead Man"), one is alternative metal ("Beauty of Annihilation") & one is melodic metalcore ("115"). "The One" is more of an alternative rock track that pushes out into alternative metal territory as it builds through the latter half. Other than that we have the usual mixed bag that is the modern video game soundtrack with the rest of the tracklisting covering disparate subgenres like ambient, electronica, chiptune, techno, psytrance & progressive rock. In truth there's a lot more electronic music here than there is rock/metal so I'm inclined to suggest that this shouldn't be regarded as a metal release. The quality also travels the full spectrum from amazingly atmospheric (see gorgeous ambient piece "Voice In Your Head" & closing instrumental prog rock guitar shredder "Undone" for example) to disposable rubbish (see dire chiptune inclusions "Zombies Don't Surf" & "Temple").

Overall I'd suggest that I get enjoyment out of about half of the tracklisting but the other material is simply too far from my comfort zone to allow me a positive overall experience. The female vocals are pretty cheesy but do come up with some nice melodies & I do quite dig some of the less bleepy/quirky electronic stuff but I often find that these video game soundtracks sound very artificial & generic, particularly in their use of dime-a-dozen software synths that come across as lacking in sophistication. The ambient pieces are where this release is most consistent & I do enjoy four of the five rock/metal tunes so this isn't a horrible experience by any stretch but I can't say that it ever really threatened to have me returning for repeat visits in the future.

For fans of metal-related video game soundtrack artists like Mick Gordon, Heaven Pierce Her & Machinae Supremacy.

3/5

2
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Here are my thoughts on most of the tracks in this playlist:

Breaking Benjamin - "Breakdown" (from We Are Not Alone)

4.5/5. After a "Fur Elise"-like piano intro, Burnley screams "BREAKDOWN!!!" to begin a hardcore riffing part of the intro similar to the heavy parts of their debut. That should've been a single!

TOOL - "Prison Sex" (from Undertow)

4/5. OK, there's a bit of disturbing groove sh*t, but it's dominated by amazing riffs and melodies.

Evanescence - "Better Without You" (from The Bitter Truth)

3.5/5. This one starts off with a soft synthesized music box before an industrial earthquake.

Coldrain - "RUNAWAY" (from Vena)

4/5. Masato sounds just fine in this song, but when Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix butts in, he really has his vocal power that make that song another highlight. However, if you thought this was intense, another Japanese metal song I'm gonna comment on would be even more...

Dir En Grey - "AGITATED SCREAMS OF MAGGOTS" (from THE MARROW OF A BONE)

4.5/5. This one's absolutely killer, pure brutal alt-metalcore right here! The music video is also cool, though some viewers would be like "WT*?!" This is over-the-top madness, much different from the band's softer "empty" ballads.

MAXIMUM THE HORMONE - "Seritsuwa Kannazukiwo Korasu Kion" (from Kusoban)

5/5. Who else but this band can make lyrics about "physiological pain" and "freezing temperature" in the same song? I'm not usually in the more funk-oriented alt-metal, but this is so brilliant I can cry!

Five Finger Death Punch - "Under and Over It" (from American Capitalist)

4.5/5. This one fulfills the band's resolution with their revolution against critics.

In Flames - "Where the Dead Ships Dwell" (from Sounds of a Playground Fading)

4/5. In Flames was a band that gave me good alt-metal/melodeath in the times when I was up for them. I can still hear the anger and sadness in the chilling lyrics ("I won't let the world break me, so I need to change direction..."). This amazing song hits me with unique beauty much more than bands like Killswitch Engage. This modern alternative sound they've been having since Soundtrack to Your Escape. Maybe I will return to this band someday when I'm fully back in my melodeath sound...

Vanilla Ice - "Too Cold" (from Hard to Swallow)

3.5/5. Wow, I didn't expect the "Ice Ice Baby" dude to appear here, but it makes sense because of his nu/rap metal material, which I'm not usually fond of. This one's a good hard-hitter though, so it's fine.

Lacuna Coil - "Within Me" (from Karmacode)

4/5. A good song for post-breakup woes of loneliness, bring back good memories of when I used to listen to this band full-time. This band still exists in activity, and I'm glad about that, though their earlier gothic years are far behind them.

Cave In - "New Reality" (from Heavy Pendulum)

5/5. H*ll yes, another awesome discovery for me from this band. It sounds so zany and they have good relation with Converge, with that band's guitarist Kurt Ballou manning the album's production and Nate Newton as their new bassist after Caleb Scofield's fatal car crash. RIP...

Linkin Park - "Somewhere I Belong" (from Meteora)

4/5. This one is more melodic with incredible emotion. There's powerful guitar along with great vocals alternating between rapping and singing. The lyrics are a bit forced and unable to flow well, but the song is still awesome.

Machine Supremacy - "Anthem Apocalyptica" (from Origin)

4.5/5. This one I still love as a potential fight-preparation song. The music fits well by itself without any lyrics. I discovered this band 7 years ago when I was still in the power metal zone. This was before their debut Deus ex Machinae when they creating singular tracks to upload on their website. It's still quite, including that calm beginning. I think this should've been in the movie Ready Player One. While I enjoyed the instrumentals, same goes for the real songs despite the whininess in the vocals. I also enjoyed playing the demo of the Jets'n'Guns game they composed music for. A great outro to end this playlist!

1
Saxy S

It's funny how a record with such energy & vitality can divide opinions on it's individual components yet elicit a similar overall response, isn't it? I'm hardly a die-hard System Of A Down fan as I'd only ever heard their classic 2001 sophomore album "Toxicity" prior to digging my teeth into this month's feature release. I really enjoyed "Toxicity" though. It was a very strong album & this one is too. Perhaps not quite as strong as it's older sibling but I've rated it the same nonetheless. Let's just say that "Toxicity" was a strong 4/5 while "Mezmerize" has just snuck over the line for that rating by the barest of margins.

"Mezmerize" starts off a little slowly for me as the first three tracks were mildly enjoyable without ever really threatening to hit my sweet spot. It's only when SOAD embrace their hardcore side a bit that I start to see my pulse rate increasing rapidly. I actually really dig the two short gimmick songs in "Cigaro" & "This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm on This Song", both of which worked to super-charge my experience. I couldn't give a toss about the lyrical direction. It's more about the electricity & urgency they bring to the table. "Violent Pornography" is the only let-down across the tracklisting for me as it's simply too quirky & accessible for my taste but I love the Tool-ish progressive approach of "Question!", the strong alternative metal stylings of "Sad Statue" & especially the lengthier alternative rock builder "Lost in Hollywood" whose hooks really dug in & made it my album highlight. The production job is very much situated in the hardcore space with plenty of mid-range in the guitars & I think this works to the band's benefit as It adds to the chaotic nature of the arrangements & gives the avant-garde vocal approach a better grounding. The occasional Faith No More style clean sections usually aren't my cup of tea when taken in isolation but within the context of the rapid-fire song-structures they work to nicely break up the record.

In many ways I really shouldn't enjoy this album as much as I do because I usually recoil from humour in my metal but System Of A Down have a funny way of nudging you in the ribs enough times with a silly "Eh?" look on their face that you eventually turn around & laugh along with them despite trying hard not to. That's a rare talent because it's so easy to end up on the wrong side of that equation. The fanaticism of the SOAD fanbase is often overwhelming (particularly in the USA) but it's nice to occasionally be reminded that there's a fair bit of merit behind it.

For fans of Faith No More, Dir en Grey & Twelve Foot Ninja.

4/5

3
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Here are my thoughts on some tracks:

Primus - "Conspiranoia" (from Conspiranoid)

4/5. Starting the playlist with 11 and a half minutes of prog-ish funk metal, you can already hear the signature vocals and bass of Les Claypool to please Primus fans. This isn't usually my style, but I would definitely recommend this to Emitter!

36 Crazyfists - "Wars to Walk Away From" (from Lanterns)

4.5/5. I love this killer track! Though they wouldn't reach the same heights as their 2000s metalcore material.

System of a Down - "Mr. Jack" (from Steal This Album!)

4/5. Apparently, this "Mr. Jack" dude was a man disguised as a cop who kidnapped people and was eventually beaten by real police, a story bassist Shavo Odadjian wrote in the lyrics inspired from witnessing bank robberies. Guitarist/co-lead vocalist Daron Malakian can do some voice-threatening screams then continue singing well. I listen to a lot of alt-metal bands now, but nowhere close to the mainstream of System of a Down and Alice in Chains. That said though, this is a nice song to love with some good lyrics ("F*** you man!). The tempo changes and different chords Serj Tankian follows really well with his vocals.

Karnivool - "Roquefort" (from Themata)

4.5/5. This one shows how confident the band is to try a funky approach and expand boundaries without going beyond anyone's comfort zone.

Atreyu - "Warrior" (from Baptize)

5/5. One of the top best songs from Atreyu, despite ditching much of their metalcore roots! Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker contributes with some marching-like percussion in the bridge. Sounds awesome, right?!

Avenged Sevenfold - "Almost Easy" (from Avenged Sevenfold)

4.5/5. One thing about Avenged Sevenfold's sound at that time is, it sound so clean yet dirty, bright yet dark. There's also a "CLA mix" that's rawer than the original. Still the original is impressive! What's not to love? Amazing vocals that sometimes border on aggressive, especially in the chorus. The guitars are heavy while adding melody. Absorb the speed! Their late drummer The Rev also added some of his own vocals mixed with M. Shadows, and the drums really pummel through as well. RIP Rev...

Evanescence - "Going Under" (from Fallen)

4/5. Another track I love, though it lacks a bit of potential, yet made up for by the strong heavy instrumentation and Amy Lee's massive singing.

Otep - "Battle Ready" (from Sevas Tra)

3.5/5. Add rapping as the main vocal style for Evanescence, and you get Otep! Sounds kick-A, but I still struggle with the rapping.

Bad Wolves - "Remember When" (from Disobey)

4/5. Here's a good song about lead vocalist Tommy Vext having fun with his twin brother when they were young, kind of like me and my older brother. However, a dark twist came when Tommy's brother descending into drug addiction and was so high that at one point, he attacked Tommy and nearly murdered him. Fortunately, Tommy survived. His brother ended up in jail for that incident. Great song based on an intense true story...

Wage War - "Me Against Myself" (from Pressure)

4.5/5. Also a h*lla amazing track with great lyrics! That's the kind of song that needs more attention. If anyone out there is shy about rock or metal being their favorite genre, you don't have to hide it anymore with this one.

Bad Omens - "What Do You Want From Me?" (from THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND)

4/5. This one has a bit of heavier potential, but the synthwave-like beats don't really light up my heart. Next!

Dead by April - "Anything at All" (from Anything at All)

4.5/5. Another song I love! I appreciate the work this band puts in perfecting their poppy metal sound.

Katatonia - "Inside the City of Glass" (from Viva Emptiness (10th Anniversary Edition))

4/5. Though this is the "10th Anniversary Edition" with vocals, as opposed to the instrumental version I requested, this is still a good doomy alt-metal track, and the vocals add more emotion. The lyrics are a great description of life. For anyone who has only listened to the instrumental version, the one with vocals would blow their minds. This could be easy for me to sing along to this haunting tune. Besides Jonas' wonderous vocals, the drumming has improved as well. All good despite me preferring the version without vocals by a slight edge. The beautiful vocals shine without ever being overshadowed by the powerful guitars. A decent track fixed with something to make it slightly more complete. Katatonia was a good band for me...

Black Map - "Run Rabbit Run" (from In Droves)

3.5/5. The sound in this song is basically U2 gone as heavy as Chevelle. I'm not sure if this is even metal to be honest, closer to alt-rock. Still this isn't too bad for this band that was formed by Mark Engles during his break from Dredg.

Linkin Park - "Rebellion" (from The Hunting Party)

4/5. This one stomps in with a gnarly guitar intro, which along with the background synths, once again give the song a European power metal vibe for a medieval sword war. Assisting the band in the quest is a guest, System of a Down's Daron Malikian performing part of the aforesaid guitar riffing. The song's lyrics speak of anger and urgency, with nothing specific to fight against and just rebelling for the h*ll of it.

Spiritbox - "Yellowjacket" (from Eternal Blue)

4.5/5. This song can also get you hooked with lines such as "Where was the grace when I was asking for it?!" Architects’ Sam Carter delivers one of the most memorable choruses of the year. This should really be performed live, with or without Sam, for beautiful chaos in motion.

Bloodsimple - "Dead Man Walking" (from Red Harvest)

5/5. Now this amazing song I absolutely love! I find Bloodsimple a kick-A band now. The song is notable as part of the sound track for WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009. I gotta put this f***ing banger into my iTunes playlist. The bass here sounds deadly as f***. There also seems to be a Clutch-like pace. Sick metal right here! I shall add this killer tune as one of my most awesome favorites. This playlist really ended in a bang for me!

1
Saxy S

Emitter, I would definitely recommend to you this Gateway playlist! A few great discoveries from Dog Fashion Disco and Maximum the Hormone (closer to what you prefer) along with In This Moment and Architects (what I like along with those other two bands).

2
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

My experience with Evanescence going into "The Bitter Truth" was limited to just the one song as far as I'm aware (you know the one). I've always assumed that they'd be too commercially focused for my taste & were unlikely to offer much in the way of genuine metal so I can't say that I was looking forward to immersing myself in this album for a couple of hours, particularly not after reading the couple of reviews listed immediately above this post. But my fears were quickly eased once I chucked the record on because it opens quite splendidly in all honesty. It certainly doesn't maintain that high standard throughout the tracklisting but there's easily enough quality here to keep me interested. In fact, I have to say that I'm surprised at the poor ratings for this one as it's nowhere near the artistic failure that I was being led to believe it might be.

There are two major stumbling blocks for "The Bitter Truth" though with the first being the production. After reading the reviews on RYM I was expecting to find that Amy's vocals were the issue with a couple of long-time fans noting that her voice sounds distant & muffled. In reality that isn't the case at all with her vocals sounding quite clear & sitting well towards the front of the mix. The issue is with the guitar tone which is fuzzy & weak. It's certainly not a deal breaker but I was left with the feeling that the weaker moments could have been done a few more favours by a heavier guitar sound to hide the flat hooks. The second issue is the inconsistency in the quality of the song-writing. Unlike many reviewers I actually believe that there are some very solid outings included on "The Bitter Truth" with a couple of them even reaching pretty close to alternative metal classic status for me personally. The opening atmospheric piece "Artifact / The Turn" & the anthemic "Use My Voice" are nothing short of phenomenal while "Broken Pieces Shine", "Better Without You", "Far From Heaven" & "Blind Belief" all became ear worms after a few spins through their use of some quality vocal hooks. It's just that there are also some duds along the way too with "Yeah Right", "Wasted on You", "Take Cover", & "Part of Me" all doing very little for me even though I wouldn't class any of them as being complete shockers.

Is this a metal album then? Well, yeah I think it is. There's no question that it falls under the pop metal banner but I don't think that Evanescence have ever tried to fool us that they were anything else, have they? There are certainly a few tracks that don't even try to be metal included here but more than half of the tracklisting draws its sonic palate from the metal toolkit. As usual though, I couldn't care less whether it's a metal releases or not. My ratings are based entirely on the quality of the work as a piece of art &, despite it's faults, "The Bitter Truth" is a long way from a creative failure. Amy's vocal skills are really pretty special in all honesty & I can't deny that each repeat listen saw her drawing me in a little further. I have to wonder whether the lack of the band's signature symphonic component has actually worked to this record's advantage with me as I've never been too fond of that element within my metal. Overall, I think everyone should put their preconceptions aside & give "The Bitter Truth" a few active listens before making judgement. It's very easy to identify the reasons that many metalheads don't like a band like Evanescence upon first listen but there are some diamonds to be found here if you're patient enough to sift through a few rocks.

3.5/5

4
Daniel

OK, I really wasn't looking forward to this one - stupid band name, shit album cover - so far, so DIY... oh and it's an instrumental only album to make matters worse. On the upside it's only 25 minutes long, but on the downside is.. everything else - especially that irritating cymbal sound that I can even hear over my tinnitus and is even more annoying than tinnitus!

In truth, this was always going to be ahard sell to me and has been proved to be such. If you are keen on electronic music as well as metal then there may be something here for you, but for me there is nothing.

1/5

4
Daniel

So happy that you enjoy it as much as I do. It was a risky recommendation as I'm sure it's not for everyone.  A unique and special album for me!

11
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

...Anyways, my list for this clan is incredibly easy to run out:

1. Alice in Chains - Rooster

2. Faith No More - Be Aggressive

3. Deftones - Diamond Eyes

4. System of a Down - B.Y.O.B.

5. Slipknot - Psychosocial

6. Linkin Park - Faint

7. Rage Against the Machine - Guerilla Radio

8. Helmet - Unsung

9. Karnivool - Mauseum

10. Living Colour - Cult of Personality



9
Saxy S

Here are my thoughts on some tracks:

Attila – Day Drinking (2021)

4/5. Cool song to start this playlist! While drinking may never be in my religion, this is still some f***ing fun good sh*t to listen to that might work in underground radios. It might seem like Southern-fried metalcore was gonna die because of Every Time I Die's recent split-up, but nu metalcore masters Attila know how to bring this Southern style back to life. This band is so f***ing underrated, if you ask me. Rob Zombie would be proud...

Chevelle – The Red (2002)

4.5/5. This great track is the ONE SONG my brother can play on guitar. I'm glad to still enjoy this song from my first listen 10 years ago. The lyrics about anger management fit well for the explosive heaviness. The chorus is so good, and it makes sure the song never disappoints. You just wanna keep repeating that song as much as possible. Pete's vocal range is showcased very well, with the most screams in the album.

Dir En Grey – The IID Empire (2003)

4/5. A spark of experimental alt-metal from Japan. H*ll yes!!

Escape the Fate – Issues (2010)

4.5/5. This next song hits you with hard rock instrumentation and a catchy chorus. The bass can be heard pretty well, which is quite rare for bands of this style.  It would be great if more bands try that.

Karnivool – Synops (2005)

5/5. The heaviness continues again. Amazing submission, Daniel!

Lacuna Coil – Our Truth (2006)

4.5/5. Close to a f***ing incredible highlight! Even though I moved away from this band during my departure from gothic metal, after listening and reviewing a couple Evanescence albums, they might be some hope in returning to Lacuna Coil in the future. Maybe...

The Bread Scientists – Starburst (2021)

3/5. Good attempt at testing out a song from The Bread Scientists to see whether or not I'm up for checking out this month's Gateway feature release, but if I've really struggled with this experimental side of alt-metal, perhaps my Gateway feature release should continue sometime else.

Coldrain – We’re not alone (2010)

3.5/5. This next track is where massive heaviness of the rhythms and leads come in while Masato sings cleanly. During then, the band makes sure Masato is not alone. I know a little more of this band's material than that of The Bread Scientists, but even then, it's not at its best.

Mark Morton – Cross Off (2019)

4/5. The final studio recording of vocals from this fallen hero, Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, is what makes this song absolutely killer. It's as if the universe granted Linkin Park fans one last gift from the heavens (not Heaven itself, but you know what I mean). Those g****mn screamed vocals are some of his best since Linkin Park's metal albums. Mark Morton, best known as guitarist of Lamb of God, knows how to pull as much guitar talent as Avenged Sevenfold, maybe a bit of Bullet for My Valentine. Chester was a great man in the world of music. RIP

Memphis May Fire – The Old Me (2018)

5/5. This one fits well for our world falling apart because of the virus, even though this album was released a couple years before the virus started. Is it possible for a such a f***ing personally relatable song to exist?! Great lyrics in this song hitting a great level! That question "What happened to the old me?" is a hard-to-answer question that many people are wondering. A perfectly fitting song for our world!

Wage War – Grave (2019)

4.5/5. Another on-fire track! One of my favorite tracks since the previous album's "Stitch".

Green Carnation – Pile of Doubt (2005)

4/5. I've heard talk about this song ending up in a few 2K sports games. I don't know that for sure, but what I would really like to see if this song reaching the charts instead of the sh*tty ones from the radio. Despite being over a decade and a half old, the insane deep beauty never fades away. The ending part from the 5-minute mark onwards is the best part! This band started off as death metal before moving to a gothic progressive metal sound, and in this album, they had a more of a hard rock/alt-metal sound on. They would switch to moody acoustic rock just for the next album Acoustic Verses. This song is quite kick-A, though that album cover is a little creepy. Great song, somehow ending up in a few sports video games and I didn't know.

Ra – Don’t Turn Away (2008)

5/5. Now this song I totally love! Probably my favorite song of this playlist, definitely worth ending it. This band is so underrated and deserves more fame. Absolutely bad-a**! I don't need any violent death metal or Slayer-like thrash metal, this is the epic heaviness I prefer. Cool catchy riffs! I look forward to listening to their other offerings...

1
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

After having fun with the "most popular 50 Infinite albums and EPs in 2021" last week, I've decided to the same with my other 3 clans. So here they are for The Gateway, with the number of ratings and average score:

#1 Poppy - Eat (NXT Soundtrack) (2164 / 3.67)

#2 Limp Bizkit - Still Sucks (1813 / 2.73)

#3 Architects - For Those That Wish to Exist (1159 / 2.55)

#4 Spiritbox - Eternal Blue (1109 / 3.38)

#5 Chevelle - Niratias (832 / 3.44)

#6 Evanescence - The Bitter Truth (700 / 2.75)

#7 Lantlôs - Wildhund (683 / 3.28)

#8 Turnstile - Turnstile Love Connection (544 / 3.52)

#9 Whitechapel - Kin (495 / 3.44)

#10 Serj Tankian - Elasticity (331 / 2.74)

#11 Sleep Token - This Place Will Become Your Tomb (329 / 3.20)

#12 Bullet for My Valentine - Bullet for My Valentine (310 / 2.89)

#13 Beartooth - Below (278 / 3.08)

#14 Slaughter to Prevail - Kostolom (275 / 2.77)

#15 Coaltar of the Deepers - Revenge of the Visitors (273 / 3.28)

#16 While She Sleeps - Sleeps Society (256 / 3.14)

#17 The Gentle Men - The Evolution of Tears (175 / 2.83)

#18 Don Broco - Amazing Things (168 / 3.31)

#19 Atreyu - Baptize (164 / 2.49)

#20 The Bread Scientists - Troposphere (160 / 3.16)

#21 Twelve Foot Ninja - Vengeance (153 / 3.18)

#22 Tremonti - Marching in Time (144 / 3.46)

#23 The Plot in You - Swan Song (126 / 3.23)

#24 Times of Grace - Songs of Loss and Separation (115 / 3.19)

#25 Black Veil Brides - The Phantom Tomorrow (111 / 2.81)

#26 Love and Death - Perfectly Preserved (108 / 3.03)

#27 Tetrarch - Unstable (99 / 2.99)

#28 Sion - Sion (95 / 3.25)

#29 Blanket - Modern Escapism (92 / 3.28)

#30 Hacktivist - Hyperdialect (88 / 3.08)

#31 Imminence - Heaven in Hiding (83 / 3.47)

#32 Alien Weaponry - Tangaroa (79 / 2.89)

#33 The Gazette - Mass (76 / 3.23)

#34 Attila - Closure (75 / 1.93)

#35 Slope - Street Heat (73 / 3.35)

#36 ASkySoBlack - What Is Yet to Come? (68 / 3.52)

#37 Aborym - Hostile (65 / 2.14)

#38 LizZard - Eroded (65 / 3.09)

#39 Eisbrecher - Liebe Macht Monster (65 / 3.28)

#40 Loli in Early 20s - blood for evening (64 / 3.16)

#41 Bad Wolves - Dear Monsters (61 / 3.06)

#42 Dreamshade - A Pale Blue Dot (60 / 3.15)

#43 鬱P [Utsu-P] - Unique (54 / 3.59)

#44 Психея [Psiheya] - Видения (48 / 3.06)

#45 Sumo Cyco - Initiation (45 / 2.99)

#46 Blood Youth - Visions of Another Hell (45 / 3.11)

#47 Pain of Truth / Age of Apocalypse - Pain of Truth/Age of Apocalypse Split (43 / 3.26)

#48 ten56. - Downer Part 1 (42 / 3.25)

#49 MolyBaron -The Mutiny (39 / 3.60)

#50 Appalooza - The Holy of Holies (37 / 3.03)

I did not expect that Eisbrecher album to appear here. Neue Deutsche Härte apparently now covers alternative metal and industrial metal in RYM, instead of just the latter. Another RYM genre change to keep in mind...

5
Daniel

Although I seem to enjoy this album a bit more than the rest of you, I have to admit that the closing ballad is pretty flat & was a poor option in my opinion. It's the only track on the album that offers me little in the way of appeal.

6
Daniel

I never actually got around to listening to "Niratias" although I did enjoy all of the tracks I selected for the monthly playlists so it definitely shows strong potential. Perhaps I'll see how I go with this month's feature release first though as it'll be my first attempt at taking on a full Chevelle record.

3
Saxy S

Here are my thoughts on some tracks:

Breaking Benjamin – Torn in Two (2018)

4.5/5. A killer song to start this playlist! This is one of my brother's favorite Breaking Benjamin songs, and it's probably now one of my favorites too when my brother was playing in a car ride that was in with him. This massive boss battle theme is what really gets me hyped. "Broken I crawl back to life..."

Karnivool – Mauseum (2005)

5/5. The heaviness builds up again with this slower highlight. I found that song and someone's orchestral version a few years ago.

Bullet For My Valentine – Piece of Me (2018)

3.5/5. This one has some breakdowns and screams similar to their older material, but everything else falls into the electronic sea, similar to Asking Alexandria. Fortunately, their recent self-titled album made up for the mistakes made in Gravity.

Linkin Park – Krwlng (2002)

4/5. Further distancing from most of the hip-hop sh*t in Reanimation is what you've all been waiting for, an epic dramatic revisit of "Crawling", with Staind singer Aaron Lewis, where the beat and brief rapping have earned a greater edge for a crossover with less emphasis on hip-hop. Well done, guys...

Bad Wolves – Springfield Summer (2021)

3/5. Nice acoustic country, but it doesn't really work for the most part. Next!

Machinae Supremacy – A View from the End of the World (2010)

4/5. To tell you the truth, I loved this song more 5 years ago when my taste in power metal was still at height, but this band has an amazing mix of that genre, alt-metal, and 8-bit synths. Deep lyrics fit well for these astral video game metal heroes. In the alt-metal side, this band really separates itself from other bands who keep focusing on hip-hop and dubstep. Yet I caught all of this band like all that Pokemon sh*t much more back in those earlier days...

Spiritbox – Eternal Blue (2021)

4.5/5. The title track of the first and so far only Spiritbox album clearly calms down the metal wolf for ethereal clarity. Mike continues his heavy and melancholic soloing, and Courtney wishes that her "blood would slow down".

Dir En Grey - 輪郭 (Rinkaku) (2014)

5/5. I'm still stunned by how amazing this band is, especially the vocal range of Kyo that goes in different levels, from low to mid to high. Bad-a** amazing fun! I still have my faith in one of my favorite Japanese metal bands. I also sense a bit of Yakuza-like jazziness.

Motionless in White – Another Life (2019)

4.5/5. This hits me with wonderful beauty and great lyrics that could shed me to tears. F***ing fascinating!

While She Sleeps – Division Street (2021)

4/5. Sleeps Society is another good album in 2021, and we've had several songs from the album, each one in one of the Gateway playlists last year. This one is a soft ballad that I thought would break things up a bit, and I like that it's saved for one of the last.

3rd Strike – No Light (2002)

3.5/5. Thanks for this playlist, Saxy. This song is quite good, but it's not really how I wanted to end it. A pseudo-rap metal track right after a soft ballad that would've nicely sealed the ending better. 3rd Strike is not a charm, despite some cool potential.

2
Daniel

Whitechapel - Kin (2021)

I remember hearing Whitechapel on one or two Terrorizer Fear Candy cover discs (which I still have somewhere) and fucking hating them! Since then I have given them a very wide berth indeed, so it is with some trepidation that, fifteen years later, I approach their latest album, Kin. Well I must say, the intervening years have been pretty kind to these once-irritating deathcore merchants because this is really good and I found myself enjoying it quite a lot. Like an annoying angsty teenager who has grown up to be quite the poet or artist as he hits middle-age, the band have matured and directed their energies into a more coherent and artistically satisfying direction. Sure, there's still anger and aggression here, but much better controlled and expressed than when they were younger. The calmer, clean sung sections provide a relief from the accumulated aggression, making it more effective as a result and giving it a progressive death metal atmosphere. I would have liked to hear them explore these clean sections a little further and think that would be a rewarding avenue for them to pursue going forward. All in all though I was pleasantly surprised by this and will look out for any further releases from Whitechapel with much more anticipation than before.

3.5/5

5
Daniel

I chose this album for the month after hearing that Karnivool were releasing a new album early in 2022, and felt I needed a refresher beforehand. It's been a while since I gave this album a spin and I'm glad I came back to it. I think the first thing to notice it that it is a product of its time. While it does have influence from a band like TOOL such as "L1FEL1KE" and "Roquefort", and songs like "Scarabs" are heavily indebted to nu metal such as Slipknot, I think it does just enough to make its mark as a cut above those bands. The title track, "Fear of the Sky" "Sewn and Silent" are littered with influence, but also contain many progressive tropes, such as uncommon time signatures and simple, repetitive musical motifs that lead you into a trance. I think "Mauseum" has a Chevelle influence and you may even pick up on some System of a Down on "Synops". A lot of times (most notably with Linkin Park's The Hunting Party) it felt like a mish mash of ideas stuck together for nostalgia purposes. With this, Karnivool use those bands as blueprints and then create their own sound beyond it. It's quite impressive all things considered.

But, this album is hilariously front loaded. After the big opener "C.O.T.E." and the title track, it feels like this is gonna be a solid run, but you can almost feel the band not caring as much beyond "Scarabs" as the songs become more texture than melody. And I like "Sewn and Silent" and "Mauseum", but I would never recommend them first. They poorly represent the bands identity and maybe I'd let it slide since they are deep cuts. But then you have "Synops" with its out of nowhere distorted, blown out guitar that becomes more horrendous with each repeat of the main theme. The album ends with atmospheric texture on "Change (Part 1)" that does not resolve to a completion, but rather makes you wonder where is track 13? 

The album gets credit for engineering and feels very spacious. The bass lines are prominent and efficient (as expected from TOOL imitators), the vocals are unique and melodic, while the guitar work is not overbearing (minus "Synops") and never comes across as sounding like a constant wall of noise. In the end, the progressive elements on display do make it a worthy addition in alternative metal, and this record helped lay down the foundation that fellow countrymen Caligula's Horse would develop further through the 2010s. 

7/10

3
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Think we'll find it is Life of Agony not "Life in Agony".

Quoted Vinny

Whoops!

3
Daniel

Hmm... I think I should refer you back to my comments on the new Trivium album a month or two back. Sounds more like a commercial enterprise than an artistic statement to me. Mix together the sound of several commercially successful bands (Slipknot, Nickelback, Trivium) then sit back and watch the money come pouring in.

Or, alternatively, I'm just an out-of-touch old fart who doesn't understand "the kids". Either way, I don't like it. (I'm sorry Daniel, but I can't even be bothered to get too wound up by it - but I did prefer the christmas carol record to this, so that can't be good).

I think I'll give it a 1.5/5 (I do like the black metal wolf peering out of the cover).

4
Saxy S

If this is the shape of things to come on The Gateway playlist with Saxy curating then long may it continue.  The Gateway is not always a clan I get along with as we know but on here there are some very familiar tracks (FNM, Deftones, Soundgarden and Helmet) plus a few new discoveries, as well as a couple of shocks also.

Not sure how I have missed Hum but they just went to the top of my list to check out more of their stuff.  That track has a doomy vibe and also some off-kilter rhythms thrown in to keep things interesting.  Not sold entirely on the vocals but can see how they fit this track perfectly.

I actually didn't mind that Butcher Babies track.  Yes it was predictable as hell but equally entertaining at the same time.  Similarly with the Lacuna Coil track, it does not make me want to necessarily run off and discover more of the back catalogue but it was a good track.

Main surprise was Breaking Benjamin (a band I had thought not to be anything to do with metal).  I found this track quite a pleasant way to open the playlist.

I could not cope with Utsu-P and those fucking vocals and Twelve Foot Ninja are filed under "none of my business" as well now.  Spiritbox aren't for me as I don't think they truly let the more intense aspects of their sound shine enough despite having obvious promise and I just cannot get on with P.O.D. despite repeated attempts.

Solid month though. 

2
Daniel

Guess I should briefly mention my own featured album for this month before it ends.

While Spiritbox do have a very strong ear for melodic hooks that are super catchy, they only truly materialize in Courtney LaPlante's vocals. The instrumentals fall into a very comfortable alternative metalcore sound with a distinct Architects vibe with its leanings towards djent. I have never been a fan of this sound personally and the last Architects album (and its subsequent review) should be evidence of that. Otherwise, the compression in the mix is detrimental to the overall sound, but unfortunately necessary in order to find that crossover appeal.

I described this album during my review as a musical grab bag of popular metalcore trends and I stand by that claim. I would love to hear this group break away from the Architects influence and make a record that, while still indebted, is a sound all their own. I believe that little blue light on the horizon is still attainable.

6/10

6
Daniel

My thoughts on some tracks:

While She Sleeps – “Anti-Social” (from “So What?”, 2019)

5/5. Let's start this playlist with a song with some of the most honesty in humanity. I love this, especially the f***ing catchy chorus! Probably the best of its album So What?, with great lyrics. The Sleeps Society awakens!!

Papa Roach – “Time & Time Again” (from “Lovehatetragedy”, 2002)

4.5/5. I remember in my pre-high-school-days, this was one of the alt-metal bands my brother and I used to listen to, but mainly just their hit single "Last Resort". This song, "Time & Time Again" is what I think should've been part of The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack, and I think it might just be my favorite song from them besides the nostalgia-inducing "Last Resort". There's a bit of a Faith No More influence in there. As great as a well-balanced diet of pizza and salad!

Body Count – “Institutionalized 2014” (from “Manslaughter”, 2014)

4/5. Is there hope for the Gateway humanity?! Rap metal is not really what I'm up for when expanding my Gateway palate. This is still kinda great though, revisiting a Suicidal Tendencies classic. Ice-T rants angrily in the verses with lyrics worth laughing at, like for example, "I COULDNT GIVE A F*** IF YOU EAT SAWDUST, MOTHERF***ER!!!!" and a tangent about whether or not ham could kill you if you shoot it out of a gun. This is guaranteed to wake up the neighbors with either the music's loudness or your laughing or both. A wicked tune for people wanting to blow up their anger like a f***ing deadly bomb, though I might not return to this band anytime soon.

Disturbed – “A Reason To Fight” (from “Evolution”, 2018)

3.5/5. Then after that massive rant-fest, you begin to wonder if there is a reason to fight, or if it would just lead to something worse. This tear-jerking ballad is good for any anxiety-ridden person, like I was a couple months ago.

The Gentle Men – “2004 Breakup (Remastered)” (from :The Evolution Of Tears”, 2021)

4/5. This is another good song to enjoy, reminiscent of the alt-rock/metal you might find in the year 2004. Nicely done!

Lacuna Coil – “Closer” (from “Karmacode”, 2006)

4.5/5. Lacuna Coil was one of the bands I've left behind in my gothic/doom metal departure, and that's too bad because of their later alt-metal albums like this one, Karmacode, the album with the slightly nightmare-inducing cover art. This is an amazing song that actually has some Europop vibes that might've influenced Amaranthe. Years since my last full listen of this song, and it remains immortal in my memory. I enjoy the bad-a** bass intro and outro, though the guitars are still worth bringing in. These lyrics hit me like a train in this awesome song, especially when the first chorus starts at the one-minute mark. This might be tied with Disturbed's "Stricken" as two historical modern alt-metal songs for me, and they still have that energy in subsequent decades. Guitar Hero players know that song for sure...

Linkin Park – “Pushing Me Away” (from “Hybrid Theory”, 2000)

4/5. The perfect formula of the Hybrid Theory singles continue once more in the closing song of the album, which I still like since first listening nearly a decade ago. Oh how I wish that was a single...

The Bread Scientists – “!!!” (from “Troposphere”, 2021)

3.5/5. ??? This track is sick (as in killer) and all, but too experimental. Next!

Katatonia – “Lethean” (from “Dead End Kings”, 2012)

4/5. Similarly with Lacuna Coil, Katatonia's first 3 albums were in The Fallen, which is why they're another band I've left behind in my gothic/doom metal departure, but later they switched to alt-metal while maintaining the gloomy lyrics. Beautiful vocals as the cold shivering tree of depression continues to grow.

Green Carnation – “The Quiet Offspring” (from “The Quiet Offspring”, 2005)

3.5/5. I skipped ahead to track 24 for one more of my submissions, a song from Green Carnation's hard rock/alt-metal album that was part of their constant style-switching. Not really the best, but a good one for those who wanna hear that kind of style much better executed than Metallica's Load albums.

1
Daniel

I think that Linkin Park got the short end of the stick on this one, since it seems like most people were pretty done with this style of barely Alt-Metal with some rap influences tossed in there by the mid-2010's. All in all this album was very mediocre for me, but it wasn't bad at all. Although I grew up within the right timeframe to have Linkin Park be a major influence, I steered clear from that side of Rock/Metal, so coming into this album with zero nostalgia was kind of refreshing. Most of the songs sound perfectly at home on hard rock radio, but there were some riffs and moments that were genuinely interesting. Some moments fell flat, but overall this is an extremely inoffensive album with a few decent songs and a few misses. I can't help but think this one is over-hated just due to Linkin Park's overall style becoming cool to hate as the metal landscape evolved past the Nu and Alternative Metal of the late 90's and early 2000's. 

3/5

4
Daniel

My thoughts on some tracks:

While She Sleeps – “No Defeat For The Brave” (from “Sleeps Society”, 2021)

5/5. All right, another home run for me with a While She Sleeps track to begin this playlist! A very good and meaningful song to like, though it might get confusing to hear Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 in an alt-metalcore song. Still a perfect collaboration!

Katatonia – “Behind The Blood” (from “City Burials”, 2020)

4/5. This one displays guitarist Roger Öjersson's amazing rock leads in a dark yet uplifting atmosphere, but I might soon run away from the darkness of the band doomier Fallen days. Jonas Renkse's lines in the driving chorus make that song a definite near-highlight.

Linkin Park – “From The Inside” (from “Meteora”, 2003)

4.5/5. Not the most popular song of the album, but my absolute favorite of the album Meteora. This song takes on a heavier side of rock, as Chester sings smoothly in the verses (along with Mike's rapping), gets coherently stronger in the chorus, and finally reaching the repetitive yet good brutal bridge (in the same level as the "SHUT UP!!" bridge from "One Step Closer"). The guitar is not really the best, but everything else makes up for it.

Bad Wolves – “Zombie” (from “Disobey”, 2018)

5/5. Bad Wolves is a band I consider part of the category of alt-metal bands my brother enjoys and I used to, and even though they obviously didn't exist during my peak in the category nearly a decade ago, I enjoyed a few songs from this band when my brother listened to them at around the time of this album's release despite sounding like part of said category. This cover is absolutely incredible, an epic rendition of the Cranberries' smash hit song! That group's lead singer Dolores O'Riordan was going to record the vocals herself, but tragically passed away right before she had the chance. Bad Wolves made the cover anyway with their lead vocalist Tommy Vext as a tribute. This might just surpass Disturbed's "The Sound of Silence" as the best modern alt-rock/metal cover of a classic hit. RIP Dolores...

Disturbed – “Ten Thousand Fists” (from “Ten Thousand Fists”, 2005)

4.5/5. Another killer classic from my pre-high-school (not that I was ever in high school) days of following my brother's footsteps in alt-rock/metal. The funny thing is, while this was (and still is) one of my favorite Disturbed songs, of all the songs from the band my brother likes, this isn't one of them. Perhaps he wasn't too fond of the strange intro. Anyway, this is a much more meaningful song than, say, "Another Way to Die" that is from Asylum but sounds like an outtake for this album. "Ten Thousand Fists" is an amazing song, but like the lyrics say, "If this disturbs you, then walk away."

1
Daniel

New York alternative metal four-piece Helmet first became known to me through late-night underground metal radio programs at around the time that their 1992 sophomore album “Meantime” was released & they were pretty hard to ignore to be honest. Helmet’s highly regarded 1990 debut album “Strap It On” had somehow managed to drift past without me even noticing however “Meantime” could not have come at a better time for the band as it was everything the grunge-obsessed rock market were wanting & they lapped it up big time. I kinda found myself watching from afar without ever making any genuine commitment but I developed a respect for Helmet that saw me regarding them as a talented & relevant band for the 90’s alternative generation. Interestingly though, I don’t think I’ve ever actively listened to one of their albums in full until now.

Given my fairly casual acquaintance with Helmet up until now, I was actually surprised to find that my familiarity with “Meantime” extended past the obvious couple of hits in “Unsung” & “In The Meantime”. I was also very familiar with “Give It” & “Turned Out” which turned out to be a big positive for the record's chances of gaining my interest early on. I wouldn’t say that there were any other genuine surprises in store for me though as Helmet had a very good grasp of their sound by this stage & I subsequently found “Meantime” to offer a consistent approach & level of quality throughout it’s relatively short 37-minute runtime. Although it’s been noted that the band seem to have two gears on this album with the more commercially focused & the tougher material being evenly spread, I have to admit that I feel that’s overstating things a touch. All of the ten tracks take a pretty similar direction as far as I can see with only the vocals taking a more accessible & slightly poppy direction on the tracks that are presumably being referred to. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to call that an obvious attempt at hit-writing to be honest as these songs are usually as hard-hitting as the rest of the album from an instrumental perspective.

Helmet’s base sound is very much based on the grungy tone of the time with the guitar sound reminding me a hell of a lot of Seattle-based grunge gods Soundgarden. There’s certainly a hardcore edge to things though with some of the riffs & vocal performances sporting a gnarliness that wouldn’t have seemed out of place on Nirvana’s rough-&-ready debut album “Bleach”. The big difference between Helmet & their peers though is how strongly they rely on precisely executed & often fairly complex groove-based syncopated rhythms within their riff structures. In fact, they remind me a fair bit of fellow New Yorkers Prong in this regard. What we have here is heavily riff-based music that sees all four band members honing in on the one idea & looking to maximise its value with the bass guitar lines of Henry Bogdan playing a major role in accentuating the band’s overall heaviness. If you’re familiar with English sludge metallers Fudge Tunnel then you’ll know what I mean although Helmet are admittedly more rhythmically ambitious. Despite the apparent complexity in some of the unusual time signatures though, this united focus on the riff does tend to make Helmet sound a little less sophisticated than it probably should as there’s not all that much to this album. Every song sports hard-hitting, groove-based riffs that are all beautifully executed but don’t offer a lot of in the way of emotional engagement & depth. The post-hardcore references that seem to gain traction with this album are pretty misguided as there’s nothing “post” about this material in my opinion. It’s as riff-based as you’ll find with little attempt being made to explore anything more atmospheric or textural.

Front man Page Hamilton is the clear focal point of the band & he opts for a shouty, hardcore-inspired delivery a lot of the time. He’s not the most talented of vocalists but often reminds me of a less tone-deaf version of Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick in that he’s more about attitude than he is technique. I have to say it works for him pretty well but I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight that a more obviously talented front man could have taken Helmet to another level. I mean the fact that I get so many Soundgarden vibes from Helmet’s instrumentation is enough to highlight the obvious gap in class between the two bands & a lot of that comes down to the chalk-&-cheese comparison between a vocal god like Chris Cornell or Alice In Chains’ Layne Stayley & the serviceable performance Page puts in here. I do like the noisy approach to the guitar solos though. It adds a layer of intensity to proceedings just when the song-writing is starting to sound a little too easy on the ear.

Look, despite my minor qualms “Meantime” is a really consistent record. You won’t find a weak track amongst the ten included here with the quality ranging from pretty decent to very solid. In fact, I was a bee’s dick away from upping my score to a 4/5 but eventually decided that I didn’t connect quite as much with Helmet’s sound as I’d like which prevented me from finding any single track to be an alternative metal classic. Songs like “In The Meantime”, “Give It” & “Turned Out” will always get me feeling a little nostalgic for a simpler time but I don’t think I can say that this album competes with the top tier of the genre. It’s a consistently enjoyable listen that delivers exactly what it promises from the first seconds of the opening track. I just would have liked to see Helmet experimenting with a more cerebral & visceral sound on occasion. They definitely had their own thing going on though & it’s actually pretty hard to think of anyone that sounded much like them at the time which is a point worthy of respect.

For fans of Prong, Fudge Tunnel & Soundgarden.

3.5/5


P.S. How obviously did Kansas-based grunge outfit Paw rip off the opening riff from “Unsung” on their 1993 hit “Jessie”?? They’re pretty much exactly the same & neither are all that far from the opening riff from Alice In Chains’ “Them Bones” which came out a few monthly after “Meantime” either.

4
Daniel

As with The Sphere playlist, this month's Gateway list threw up some niceties.  The Deftones track is a clear winner in my book and hearing American Head Charge who I have seen live before now was a great nostalgia moment.  Atreyu was the only real discovery for me but I always continue to get something out of this clan's list each month.

2
Daniel

This had me at writer's block for an entire month. This was incredibly hard to do, hopefully now I can get to some other stuff I wanna talk about. 

Review:

Xephyr's Adultery Review

7
Daniel

My thoughts on some tracks (reviewing the majority of this playlist to test my strength in The Gateway):

Bring Me The Horizon – “One Day the Only Butterflies Left Will Be in Your Chest as You March Towards Your Death” (from “Post Human: Survival Horror” E.P., 2020)

4/5. Starting my playlist journey with probably the longest song title since that Underoath song used in a TheOdd1sOut video, Bring Me the Horizon continues their brand new surprises. After a thrashy screamo ride with the kawaii Babymetal and a good collaboration with the Nova Twins, we arrive in a beautiful soft duet with Evanescence's Amy Lee. I still miss the heavier darkness of Count Your Blessings though, maybe they can have more of that in the next installment of Post Human...

Thought Industry – “Fairy” (from “Outer Space Is Just a Martini Away”, 1996)

3.5/5. This one is pretty good, having some vibes from a similar band Failure. However, the music doesn't quite reach the height of greatness and is probably staying buried in the deep archives of eternity.

Acid Drinkers – “Acidofilia” (from “Acidofilia”, 2002)

3/5. This is fine, but I prefer to stay out of this acid and chill in my pleasant reality.

Alice In Chains – “So Far Under” (from “Rainier Fog”, 2018)

3.5/5. Props to this one having f***ing killer lyrics such as in the chorus, "So much under hell, fought hard where I fell". However, from the two and a half minute mark onward, the music gets a bit repetitive, but still good nonetheless.

The Bread Scientists – “Cosmonaut” (from “Troposphere”, 2021)

4/5. Still can't accept the instrumental shoegazing alt-rock/metal sound either despite how good it is. Next!

Snot – “Absent” (from “Strait Up”, 2000)

4.5/5. This is one of only two tracks in Strait Up to have the vocals of Lynn Strait. He was killed in a car crash in late 1998, along with the group's mascot, his dog Dobbs ("I told him not to bring his dog in his car. I told him!"). RIP Lynn and Dobbs... ); I'm proud of what he has done. Probably one of the best tracks from this band...

Project 86 – “Your Heroes Are Dead” (from “Truthless Heroes”, 2002)

4/5. This one I also like. Good work! They really have good amounts of P.O.D. influences here, especially the Christian direction the band was intending, which means that they have to cut down the swearing that's common in most other nu metal bands. I still prefer Demon Hunter...

The Union Underground – “Turn Me On “Mr. Deadman”” (from “…An Education In Rebellion”, 2000)

4.5/5. I seem to like the underground bands more, and that's good because it helps keep my rep. While I like experimenting with song editing, censoring the swearing in the clean version kinda disrupts the flow, which is why the explicit version is better for anyone who can handle swearing.

Dead By April – “When You Wake Up” (from “Incomparable”, 2011)

5/5. Now this is an underrated song compared to everything else in this playlist! It really has waken me up more than coffee after waking up early in the morning to do all this commenting. An awesome song to listen to during COVID lockdowns. Probably favorite song in this playlist! At over the two and a half minute mark, there's a different hit in the instrumentation with trance-filled synths. This is incredible, and that's no lie!

Primer 55 – “Loose” (from “Introduction To Mayhem”, 2000)

4.5/5. Holy sh*t, that's great energetic beat for a rap metal song! Good for if you wanna throw and break stuff in Doom Eternal or any other violent video game. They could really f***ing axe-kill MTV for not letting them in. RIP J-Sin...

Coldrain – “Revolution” (from “The Side Effects”, 2019)

5/5. What follows is the best standout here that's beyond d*mn right good, and what got me interested in Coldrain when a friend from the outside world showed me that song and mentioned that it was used as the theme song for Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs 2. What an anthem! As always, there are strong screams and clean vocals that marks Coldrain's signature vocal department from Masato. There's even a short rapping verse that works better than even Linkin Park.

Architects – “Giving Blood” (from “For Those That Wish To Exist”, 2021)

5/5. This is another contender for my favorite song in this playlist! Especially in almost the entire second half, like holy sh*t!! Amazing energy and good vibes this song has. The music from this band and Dead By April shall meet me...

Serj Tankian – “Elasticity” (from “Elasticity” E.P., 2021)

4.5/5. I love this fun song, and I would recommend to any fan of Tankian and System of a Down, but it's too hard for me to take it seriously with all this scatting in the verses, that's what detracts the score away from perfection.

Clutch – “Far Country” (from “Pitchfork” E.P., 1991)

4/5. I enjoy the p*ssed-off vibe here, but that's about it really.

Galactic Cowboys – “If I Were A Killer” (from “Space In Your Face”, 1993)

4.5/5. This one is quite an amazing one from 28 years ago, a powerful monster! The guitar really picks it up. If I were a killer, I would kill anyone who hates this song, but I won't, because I'm not a killer and will never be one. One of the rare great 90s alt-metal songs!

Sevendust – “Against The World” (from “Blood & Stone”, 2020)

4.5/5. Another month, another song from Sevendust's latest album! This one has a powerful chorus and really reflects upon their 2000s albums. I like it, and it makes me wonder why Sevendust should've been more popular. There are awesome tempo changes as well to bring the fire. The golden lyrics keep it real. As I've said before, my brother enjoys this band along with other alt-rock/metal bands, and with unreal creativity going on, this would be another good song for my bro to listen to. He likes this genre more than I do. Light it up!

Chevelle – “Pistol Star (Gravity Heals)” (from “Niratias”, 2021)

4/5. Chevelle is another band my brother finds amazing, and he has played one or two of their songs on his guitar. This is a great song for him to listen to, despite the lyrics not being too strong or understandable.

Angela Martyr – “On The Edge Of Next Time” (from “The November Harvest”, 2016)

2.5/5. Um...no. Sorry, Sonny. Maybe next time....

Dir en Grey – “Ugly” (from “Six Ugly” E.P., 2002)

5/5. Hammering riff in goth-ish nu metal. F***ing love this! For a song titled "Ugly", it's way more beautiful and trippy. You just gotta love the music these experimental alt-metal masters from Japan have unleashed!

1
Daniel

There's a lot to break down here. So much so that I listened to this on like, July 7th or something, I'm just now posting something, and I'm still not entirely sure what to say. I don't think I have the same reverence towards this that's being shown above, even though I completely get it. I think the most important distinction between The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here and something like Dirt or Jar of Flies is that this sounds incredibly mature in comparison. Most of the songs have more Alternative Rock sounding riffs with more chord strumming than hefty chug rhythms and the new vocalist keeps a somber and dark but not exactly aggressive tone going throughout the album. It doesn't have the bursting energy that the 90's Grunge scene had, but it doesn't really have to and it shows some serious evolution within the Alice In Chains sound. I think what impresses me the most is that this still sounds definitively like Alice In Chains even if the elements are a bit shuffled around. They've always had a sound that I've preferred over that of Nirvana or Stone Temple Pilots and even after all these years its still preserved in a somber and reflective feeling album that is distinctly Alice In Chains

That being said, something about this one doesn't exactly click with me. I'm not sure if it's because DuVall is an obvious attempt at a one-to-one Staley replacement and that doesn't sit well with me, or if at the end of the day I find TDPDH kind of boring in all honesty. Objectively I agree with Saxy about DuVall really coming into his own with this new shift in style and it sounds great, but there's still something that doesn't exactly feel right to me; maybe it's because it sounds so surface-level compared to the Alice In Chains of the past? At the same time that's a pretty terrible observation to make because wanting to hear legitimate suffering through music isn't exactly something that I'd want to promote, even if its been shown to create some of the most revered albums. Saxy's also correct in that this album is more universal in what it tries to convey and I think it's better off for it, but it leaves me wanting a bit more for some reason. 

I think TDPDH is going to be a slow, slow burner for me judging by how I've been thinking about it, trying to figure out how to put everything together for a review which obviously isn't going to happen this month, or maybe ever. I'm definitely glad that Alice In Chains went in this direction because it's objectively still uniquely them and high quality, but I think I need even more time with it to detach myself from my expectations. 

3/5

7
Daniel
Update on my journey to discover my Gateway potential: Reviewing all the Coldrain albums and EPs was quite a wild ride, and my overall opinion on this band is quite mixed. Two of the albums reach a perfect 5 stars, while one ended up slumping down to 2.5 stars, and the albums in between are pretty good and great. The next step for this journey is to explore a few more Gateway bands (or at least bands with at least one Gateway album), and I already have a good head start with Dir En Grey's Uroboros which is last month's Gateway feature release, and a couple songs from this month's Gateway playlist when I took the suggestion to check out more of that playlist (thanks for that, Daniel). I still have a long way to go before I truly earn the key to unlocking The Gateway...
18
Daniel
As usual with The Gateway playlist I have to sift through a lot of stuff I don't get on with to find some unexpected moments of entertainment.  The moments this month came from Serj Tankian, Korn, Infectious Grooves and Grey Waters.
3
Daniel

I first became aware of talented Los Angeles alternative metal outfit Tool through underground metal radio programs in the early 1990's. I always really enjoyed what I heard & my first real girlfriend was very much into the alternative scene so I became quite familiar with them over time without ever committing to giving them much of my direct attention due to my extreme metal obsession at the time. This all changed in 2001 when my best mate became thoroughly obsessed with their third album "Lateralus". He quickly introduced me to it & we began smoking large amounts of weed while getting deeper & deeper into the complexities of this classic alternative/progressive metal release. When we heard that they were playing in Sydney just a couple of months after the release of "Lateralus" we immediately committed to attending & threw the offer out to my new girlfriend who I was quite obsessed with. It was decided that she'd bring along her best friend & we'd attend the first of two shows at the Sydney Entertainment Centre as a foursome.

On the day of the event we all met in the city & had some pre-drinks to warm us up for the main event followed by some high-grade joints behind the venue so we were all in a totally appropriate head space by showtime. I don't recall who the opening act was however I seem to remember them being particularly inappropriate for a Tool show so let's not dwell on that but needless to say that the headliners made a huge impact right from the word go. We were seated in the stands to the right hand side of the stage & had a good view while also being nice & comfortable in our baked states so once the trippy visuals started we were all in audio/visual heaven & the visual production became very much a key component of the show, easily playing as strong a role as the various band members. 

As usual, front man Maynard Keenan never maintained eye contact with the crowd & I feel like this worked to his advantage on this occasion as it helped him to maintain this other-worldly aura that complimented the music & visuals. He was absolutely in top form from a vocal perspective too. The musicianship was simply mind-blowing & the production was outstanding with the rhythm section sounding immense & the crushing guitar chords hitting like a sledge hammer. The band played a nice mix of material from each of their first three albums while concentrating a good half of the setlist on our beloved "Lateralus" which suited us all down to the ground. Personal highlights included "Schism", "Stinkfist" & "Sober".

My girlfriend & I were absolutely loved up & in the zone together throughout the show in one of those extended moments that can't really be repeated. I don't know if this played a significant role in my overall feelings on the performance or not but given that this show has maintained its position as a once in a lifetime gig that still sits amongst my top three or four live band experiences to this day I'd suggest that it probably didn't hurt. (For the record, she'd dump me out of the blue a few months later & I'd never see her again.) I've seen Tool play a number of times since (including on their tour in June 2002 when they strangely decided to return once more in support of "Lateralus" & played at the same venue) & they've always left me in complete awe however that initial experience was something truly next level & they've never managed to match it.


Tracklisting:

Tuva (intro)

The Grudge

(-) Ions

Stinkfist

Forty Six & 2

Prison Sex

Schism

Eulogy

Disposition

Reflection


Intermission


Sober

Parabol

Parabola

Pushit (Salival version)

Ænema

Lateralus

0
Daniel

I gave this one a listen towards the middle of the month and even though I made it all the way through twice, I have zero motivation to go back to it. I can't deny that it's an intriguing and unique listen given all the stuff Dir En Grey stuffs into it, but Uroboros hits a certain chord in my biased brain that just makes the whole thing straight up annoying to me. I have the same issue with System of a Down; I don't find anything they're doing captivating or worthy of a deeper dive because the jagged song structure and constant grating dissonance of random elements just puts me off of listening to this kind of stuff so much. One of these days I'll be able to fully articulate why I can't stand stuff that sounds like this, but that's all I've got for this month, just some good old personal bias. 

2.5/5

4
Daniel

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7aY7WjCGySb3Lb4x79Dk5T?si=41d2a28c021541fe


Tracklisting:


01. Ill Niño – “God Is For the Dead” (from “Dead New World”, 2010)

02. King 810 – “Fat Around The Heart” (from “Memoirs Of A Murderer”, 2014)

03. Omerta – “Garbage” (from “Hyperviolence”, 2020)

04. Viikate – “Yönseutu” (from “Noutajan valssi”, 2000)

05. Fishbone – “End The Reign” (from “Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe”, 1993)

06. Tad – “Grease Box” (from “Inhaler”, 1993)

07. System Of A Down – “Spiders” (from “System Of A Down”, 1998) [Submitted by Vinny]

08. The Bread Scientists – “Black Sun Mirage” (from “Troposphere”, 2021)

09. Serj Tankian – “Rumi” (from “Elasticity” E.P., 2021)

10. Loathe – “Two-Way Mirror” (from “I Let It In & It Took Everything”, 2020) [Submitted by Daniel]

11. Sonic Syndicate – “Turn It Up” (from “We Rule The Night”, 2010)

12. P.O.D. – “Draw The Line” (from “Snuff The Punk”, 1994)

13. Helmet – “Welcome To Algiers” (from “Seeing Eye Dog”, 2010)

14. Limp Bizkit – “My Way” (from “Chocolate Starfish & the Hot Dog Flavored Water”, 2000)

15. Taproot – “Fractured (Everything I Said Was True)” (from “Plead The Fifth”, 2010)

16. Chevelle – “Self Destructor” (from “Niratias”, 2021)

17. Clutch – “A Shogun Named Marcus” (from “Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes and Undeniable Truths”, 1993)

18. Vision Of Disorder – “Southbound” (from “From Bliss to Devastation”, 2001)

19. Mushroomhead – “Sun Doesn’t Rise” (from “XIII”, 2003) [Submitted by Sonny92]

20. Dope – “Debonaire” (from “Felons & Revolutionaries”, 1999)

21. Fudge Tunnel – “Grey” (from “Creep Diets”, 1993)

22. Sevendust – “Dying To Live” (from “Blood & Stone”, 2020)

23. While She Sleeps – “Nervous” (from “Sleeps Society”, 2021)

24. Architects – “Discourse Is Dead” (from “For Those That Wish To Exist”, 2021)

25. Otep – “In Cold Blood” (from “Generation Doom”, 2016)

26. Disturbed – “Stricken” (from “Ten Thousand Fists”, 2005) [Submitted by shadowdoom9]

27. Soulfly – “Bring It” (from “Primitive”, 2000)

28. Bring Me The Horizon – “Obey” (from “Post Human: Survival Horror” E.P., 2020)

29. Stray From The Path – “The House Always Wins” (from “Only Death Is Real”, 2016)

30. Korn – “Jingle Balls” (from “All Mixed Up” E.P., 1999)


0
Daniel

I don't mind "it" as it happens.  The Deftones influence is strong enough to even carry off the blatantly commercial sounding Two Way Mirror without it grating that much.  The bouncy metalcore aspect to it works in the main also , I'd just like the record as a whole to be a little more settled compositionally as they clearly have a lot to say but it is too much like hard work trying to keep with the expression of it.

I don't love it but at the same time I don't hate it.  As with most Revolution (and a few Gateway) bands - I don't need it in my life though.  There's not enough intrigue to keep me interested for fifty minutes as nothing feels framed that well and it is not that I need boundaries to my metal music (far from it usually) but for the obvious clash of styles that go on, the focus on detail is off.

3/5

3
Daniel

My thoughts on some tracks (including my suggested ones):

Paradise Lost – “Mouth” (from “Believe In Nothing”, 2001)

3/5. A rock song from a usually gothic/doom band that might have inspired the post-grunge movement with bands like Seether. My brother who's into Seether and other post-grunge bands would like that song.

Bring Me The Horizon – “Ludens” (from “Post Human: Survival Horror” E.P., 2020)

4/5. This EP marks the return of the metal side of Bring Me the Horizon that was absent after the grand Sempiternal. This amazing song is also in the Death Stranding soundtrack. Ludens is the name of the mascot for Kojima Productions, the company that made Death Stranding, proving once again that this song is a contribution to the game soundtrack. The return to their heavier form can be prominently found near the 3-minute mark. This band has far more potential than Falling in Reverse. BMTH has been given a break from metal, and now the break is over. Welcome back!

Disturbed – “Asylum” (from “Asylum”, 2010)

4.5/5. This track has the alt-metal instrumentation to expect from the band! David Draiman's first words here are a passionate shout of "Release me!" I actually like this song much more now than when I listening to the band 9 years ago, probably because the heaviness I can definitely tolerate much more. The hook is worth repeated listens; "And the loneliness is killing me!" A hard-hitting radio single!

Devin Townsend Project – “Awake!!” (from “Addicted”, 2009)

3.5/5. A great song to end its album and this playlist, despite not having ex-The Gathering singer Anneke van Giersbergen.

1
Daniel

I've given this one a few bashes this morning & found that I quite liked it but wouldn't class it as essential listening. Sure it incorporates some new elements like the electronic component & the addition of former The Gathering front woman Anneke van Giersbergen but the end result still sounds like Devin with his trademark wall of melodic sound. Unsurprisingly, all of the various ingredients have been beautifully integrated. In fact, Devin really should send the album to Megadeth band leader Dave Mustaine so that he can see how albums like "Risk" & "The World Needs A Hero" should have sounded as the boys seem to have had similar ideas but produced vastly different results with a wide disparity in regards to quality.

Anneke has sat amongst my favourite female metal vocalists (if not THE favourite) for a very long time now so I welcomed the collaboration. She certainly sounds great here too but I do prefer to hear her voice being highlighted a little more than it is amidst Devin's huge soundscapes. The production is obviously outstanding though & this gives some of the middling tracks the grunt required to see them getting over the line. The guitar tone is heavy as shit while Ryan Van Poederooyen puts in a stellar performance behind the drum kit.

It's interesting that many fans seem to regard this album as an industrial metal record. Sure there are some electronic elements at play here but there's not a consistently industrial/mechanical atmosphere. "Addicted" is far more uplifting that that & I'm actually fine with the alternative metal tag as a lot of this material looks to remove some of the boundaries that separate metal from your more accessible styles whilst always maintaining a predominantly metal aesthetic. Despite the general consensus, when you examine the tracklisting as a whole you'll find that "Addicted" isn't really much poppier than Devin has dished out before either & I do think that saying it incorporates "dance music" is a stretch too as the electronics are used purely for colour & there aren't too many artificial dance beats included here.

Overall, I think "Addicted" had the potential to be a really great album given the quality of the production, performances & most of the hooks but there's a major flaw that prevents me from scoring it as highly as I'd like to. Unfortunately the tracklisting is let down by a couple of weak commercially focused tracks (i.e. "Bend It Like Bender!" & particularly the soppy ballad "Ih-Ah!") which combine to bring my score down by a half-star. Otherwise there's plenty of meat for Devin's fanatical audience to dig their teeth into here with the clear album highlight "Supercrush!" sitting amongst the best work of Devin's entire career.

3.5/5

3
Daniel

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6aRshyBEHR3UH6h8fb8lQZ?si=SUTfr16jQFGvCp35eiXtLw


Tracklisting:


01. Deftones – “Tempest” (from “Koi no Yokan”, 2012) [Submitted by Xephyr]

02. Coal Chamber – “Loco” (from “Coal Chamber”, 1997)

03. Clawfinger – “Nigger” (from “Deaf Dumb Blind”, 1993)

04. Primus – “Mary The Ice Cube” (from “Animals Should Not try To Act Like People” E.P., 2003)

05. 24/7 Spyz – “Jungle Boogie” (from “Harder Than You”, 1989)

06. Waltari – “Good God” (from “Monk-Punk”, 1991)

07. Korn – “Narcissistic Cannibal” (from “The Path Of Totality”, 2011)

08. Limp Bizkit – “Counterfeit” (from “Three Dollar Bill, Yall$”, 1997)

09. Tool – “Sweat” (from “Opiate” E.P., 1992)

10. Faith No More – “Cone Of Shame” (from “Sol Invictus”, 2015) [Submitted by Daniel]

11. Biohazard – “State Of The World Address” (from “State Of The World Address”, 1994)

12. Skin Yard – “Slow Runner” (from “Fist Sized Chunks”, 1990)

13. Sevendust – “Blood From A Stone” (from “Blood & Stone”, 2020)

14. Linkin Park – “Don’t Stay” (from “Meteora”, 2003) [Submitted by shadowdoom9]

15. Finger Eleven – “First Time” (from “The Greyest Of Blue Skies”, 2000)

16. Apocalyptica – “At the Gates Of Manala” (from “7th Symphony”, 2010)

17. Seether – “Dead & Done” (from “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”, 2020)

18. Chevelle – “Remember When” (from “Niratias”, 2021)

19. Amen – “Mayday” (from “We Have Come For Your Parents”, 2000)

20. Godsmack – “Awake” (from “Awake”, 2000)

21. Bring Me The Horizon – “Teardrops” (from “Post Human: Survival Horror” E.P., 2020)

22. Disturbed – “Stupify” (from “The Sickness”, 2000)

23. Melted Bodies – “Ad People” (from “Enjoy Yourself”, 2020)

24. Otep – “Fists Fall” (from “Atavist”, 2011)

25. Hacktivist – “Elevate” (from “Outside The Box”, 2016)

26. The Bread Scientists – “Red Planet” (from “Troposphere”, 2021)

27. Architects – “Animals” (from “For Those That Wish To Exist”, 2021)

28. Tallah – “Murder Seed” (from “Matriphagy”, 2020)

29. Avatar – “Silence In the Age Of Apes” (from “Hunter Gatherer”, 2020)

0
Daniel

Given my age, Linkin Park were one of the bands while I was growing up, but I was never into any of the popular music scenes back then. I skated right by all the Linkin Park, Korn, and Slipknot worship in favor of classic rock, Tool, and Dream Theater. Even though I listened to next to zero Linkin Park, this seriously takes me back since it's such a product of its time. The early 2000's were basically the only time when this angsty and weird hip-hop/rap, electronic, and metal hybrid could have existed and I came out of this having a lot more respect for this band. 

Even though the riffs don't exactly have a ton of pop to them and the rapping is overall very monotone and lifeless compared to other, better rapping examples, Meteora is nuanced in a way that makes it so these shortcomings don't completely ruin the album. The album also feels like an album as well, with a lot of songs having great transitions and a nice overall flow to the whole thing. I think Linkin Park excel at being brutally accessible, with nothing on Meteora being particularly crazy, but I think that's why it holds up so much better than even their "cornerstone album" Hybrid Theory. "Crawling In My Skin" has become a recurring, embarrassing teenage angst joke of a song for slightly good reason, but I didn't find anything nearly as egregious as that in Meteora

I think I have to agree with Saxy in that this album may come back in style eventually as one of the better examples of what came of the early 2000's Nu-Metal craze. Pleasantly surprised. 

3.5/5

4
Daniel

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/59cBEwev4mCyW2je6Ctptk?si=jcONVitPTR6l9FoLT6Tgrw


Tracklisting:


01. In This Moment – “The In-Between” (from “Mother”, 2020)

02. Ocean Grove – “Neo” (from “Flip Phone Fantasy”, 2020)

03. Biohazard – “Punishment” (from “Urban Discipline”, 1992)

04. Linkin Park – “My December” (from “Underground V2.0” E.P., 2002)

05. Electric Boys – “Freaky Funksters” (from “Funk-o-Metal Carpet Ride”, 1989)

06. Scatterbrain – “Don’t Call Me Dude” (from “Here Comes Trouble”, 1990)

07. Gruntruck – “Eyes Of Stone” (from “Inside Yours”, 1991)

08. Katatonia – “Journey Through Pressure” (from “The Great Cold Distance”, 2006)

09. Психея [Psiheya] – “Бесконечный стук шагов” (from “Каждую секунду пространства”, 2002)

10. Pyogenesis – “Undead” (from “Twinaleblood”, 1995)

11. Red – “Sever” (from “Declaration”, 2020)

12. OSI – “Radiologue” (from “Blood”, 2009)

13. Coaltar Of The Deepers – “Summer Days” (from “Revenge Of The Visitors”, 2021)

14. Saigon Kick – “Hostile Youth” (from “The Lizard”, 1992)

15. Mushroomhead – “The Heresy” (from “A Wonderful Life”, 2020)

16. Avatar – “Child” (from “Hunter Gatherer”, 2020)

17. Seether – “Can’t Go Wrong” (from “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”, 2020)

18. Fightstar – “Sharp Tongue” (from “Behind The Devil’s Back”, 2015)

19. Only Living Witness – “Downpour” (from “Innocents”, 1996)

20. Alice In Chains – “A Looking In View” (from “Black Gives Way to Blue”, 2009)

21. Stone Sour – “Absolute Zero” (from “House Of Gold & Bones: Part 1”, 2012)

22. Deftones – “Leathers” (from “Koi no Yokan”, 2012)

23. Cane Hill – “You’re So Wonderful” (from “Smile”, 2016)

24. Korn – “Good God” (from “Life Is Peachy”, 1996)

25. Coal Chamber – “Not Living” (from “Chamber Music”, 1999)

26. Bring Me The Horizon – “Parasite Eve” (from “Post Human: Survival Horror” E.P., 2020)

27. Hacktivist – “Hacktivist” (from “Hacktivist” E.P., 2012)

28. Tallah – “L.E.D.” (from “Matriphagy”, 2020)

0
Daniel


I thoroughly enjoy "Swerve City", "Leathers" and "Entombed", but the second half of this record tries to get more progressive and can't stick the landing. 

Quoted saxystephens

It's interesting that I actually find the B-side to be the stronger of the two, particularly the four track run from "Tempest" through to "Goon Squad" which is the best part of the record for mine.


every Deftones album since Diamond Eyes has focused more on texture than hooks.

Quoted saxystephens

I dunno about that. To my ears "Koi no Yokan" is still built around heavy riffs & catchy hooks & I feel similarly about "Ohms".


P.S. This is fourth Deftones album featured in The Gateway in just fourteen months. And while I certainly see no problem with highlighting one of Alternative Metal's best groups, it does feel a little disproportionate, especially when there is a shoegaze/post-metal/alternative metal revival going on with groups like Loathe and Hum.

Quoted saxystephens

Point taken. I knew it was self-indulgent when I made the call for this month's feature but I honestly didn't realise how heavily I'd focused on the one band until you guys highlighted it. You'll see more variation moving forwards. In fact, I've already got something penciled in for next month that's more in line with your suggested direction.

5

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